The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making adjustments to the way its 405 missions are organized, to better utilize the skills and abilities of all missionaries in training and leadership. The change is due in part to the influx of thousands of young missionaries who are responding to the lowering of age requirements for mission service, announced by Church President Thomas S. Monson last October.
Each mission in the Church will organize a mission leadership council that will include both elder (male) and sister (female) as missionary leaders. The new mission leadership council will consist of the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders and sister training leaders — a newly created role.
"We are very excited about the new mission leadership council and this role for sister missionaries,” said Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the Missionary Department. “It will be a blessing to both missions and missionaries throughout the world, and better employ the remarkable faith, talents and abilities of all missionaries."
The role of sister training leader has been created as more female missionaries serve in missions around the world. Sister training leaders will be responsible for the training and welfare of female missionaries assigned to them and will be members of and participate in, the new mission leadership council. Assistants to the president and zone leaders will also participate in the council, and those roles will remain unchanged. Missions will continue to be organized by zones and districts, with district leaders being responsible for baptismal interviews, but the mission leadership council will replace the zone leader council.
Sister training leaders will continue to proselytise and will also spend time each week training and evaluating the needs of female missionaries. They will report directly to the mission president on the needs of sister missionaries. Additionally, the wives of mission presidents are now being asked to play an enhanced role in training and caring for sister missionaries, subject to their individual and family circumstances.
Councils assist in Church governance at every level. In councils, assigned members meet to discuss individual, family and organizational needs and work together to determine how to respond to those needs effectively. Full expression from all participants is invited in council settings, unifying the efforts of both male and female council members.
The changes were announced to general Church leaders (General Authorities and Area Seventies) on Friday morning and will be mailed to mission and other leaders shortly. The changes will be implemented in each mission as soon as is practical.